The Florida swing rolls along this week with the Valspar Championship outside Tampa. Here are a few groups to watch at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course:
These are the last three winners of this event, from Woodland (2011) to Donald (2012) to Streelman (2013). Donald is the most intriguing of the group, as the former world No. 1 continues his swing changes with coach Chuck Cook. After a T-8 at the Honda Classic, he was blown off the course during a Friday 82 at Doral but rallied to finish T-25. His record at Innisbrook is terrific: T-6 in 2010, win in 2012, T-4 a year ago. Streelman, the defending champion, hasn’t cracked the top 20 in his last four starts, but he also hasn’t missed a cut since the Travelers last June.
Jordan Spieth, Harris English and Chesson Hadley: 8:20 a.m. Thursday off 10 tee
All three players are under the age of 26, led by Spieth, the 20-year-old wunderkind who returns to the event that virtually locked up his temporary PGA Tour status a year ago (T-7). English, who already has six top-10s this season, won the Southern Amateur here in 2011 and was T-7 in 2013. Hadley, a rookie, is coming off a victory at the Puerto Rico Open.
Furyk and Kuchar have solid records in this event, with the former boasting four consecutive top-15s (including a win in 2010) while Kooch has three top-15s in a row. Throw out Kuchar’s rare missed cut at Riviera, and he hasn’t finished worse than 13th since the Tour Championship (eight starts). Haas, meanwhile, has improved each of the past five weeks, culminating in a T-6 finish a week ago at Doral.
Dufner has been the best of the bunch, posting back-to-back top 10s at the Match Play and Cadillac. Rose hasn’t cracked the top 15 in three starts since returning from a shoulder injury, while Sneds’ normally red-hot putter has let him down so far in 2014. He’s looking for his first top 10 since the BMW Championship in September.